Solar in the winter,Cold and snow question
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Solar in the winter,Cold and snow question

This is a discussion on Solar in the winter,Cold and snow question within the Alternative Energy (Wind, Solar, Hydro etc) forums, part of the Off-Grid Lifestyle category; I have a small solar set up that I use quite a bit. Having solar power in the winter can pose some problems. The snow ...

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  • 1 Post By GTGallop
  • 1 Post By quinnbrian
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  • 1 Post By budgetprepp-n

Thread: Solar in the winter,Cold and snow question

  1. #1
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    Solar in the winter,Cold and snow question

    I have a small solar set up that I use quite a bit. Having solar power in the winter can
    pose some problems. The snow builds up on the solar panels even if the angle is almost
    straight up. 3"-6". That really kills the output of the panels. I wonder if I used some
    wax or oil on the glass the if snow might slide down and just fall off?

    Note: I thought that the cold would hold the panels back but I found out the panels
    like the cold. They put out great on a cold day.
    Last edited by budgetprepp-n; 02-10-2016 at 03:58 PM. Reason: itshardtoreadwhentherearenospaces
    Taking your guns is like eating a whale,,,,,,One bite at a time

  2. #2
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    I sometimes hang on a solar site where a lot of the members are in heavy snow areas. They all agree that you don't want to apply anything to your panels except mild detergents and they just live with more generator use in the snowy winter weather. Some of them have put a rubber strip like a squeegee on their roof rakes and carefully scraped some of the snow off the panels. Even with some ice on them the panels produce some power.

    Solar panels are rated at 77 degrees. Their output drops roughly 1% for every 2 degrees above about 100 and since they warm up in the sunshine they are often much hotter than the air temperature.
    They can make more electricity (more efficient) when very cold.

    Downside to these more efficient cold panels. Cold batteries can store much less electricity than warm batteries but the final kicker. Hot batteries have much shorter lifespans than cold batteries so people in Canada generally have longer lasting batteries than people in Florida.

  3. #3
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    Trees kill my solar deal. I feels your pain Sir. How about some silicone spray? Kindly try that and reprort back. Thanks.

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  5. #4
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    Sounds counter intuitive, but have you looked into "heat tape?"
    Heat Tape Laboratory Heating Blankets, Tapes, and Cords - Lab Ovens, Heating and Refrigeration - Grainger Industrial Supply

    Basically it is like the old twin lead television wire that has some semi conductor between the wires that produces heat. It used electricity, but might use less than what you make. Maybe putting some of this under the panels in the air gap between the roof and panel would allow you to spend a little electricity to warm the panels and keep the snow from sticking in the first place.
    bigwheel likes this.
    KG7NDC

    The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper.
    Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself.

  6. #5
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    Yup...the generator will run more...But I think the trade off is when it doesn't run at all, in the summer months
    It's very cold in Canada right now..and snowing, my panels stay...pretty clean. There a commercial made unit...made for a solar farm....may have something to do with ,how clean they stay? I don't really know.
    8301 likes this.

  7. #6
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    If it's fairly cold for a while before the snow falls the snow stays powerdy and blows off fairly easily. In areas like mine the panels usually aren't super cold when the snow falls and it sticks much tighter as it first melts and then refreezes. Fortunatly in my area we rarely get a good snow.
    bigwheel likes this.

  8. #7
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    Humm.. Maybe I could combine your ideas and have heat tape or some sort of electrical
    heat and run the generator just to melt the snow off the panels. I would think as soon as
    it starts to melt the snow would slide off.

    I'll see if I can get some pictures of the snow on the panels so you can see how
    the snow is building up on them.
    GTGallop likes this.
    Taking your guns is like eating a whale,,,,,,One bite at a time

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by budgetprepp-n View Post
    Humm.. Maybe I could combine your ideas and have heat tape or some sort of electrical
    heat and run the generator just to melt the snow off the panels. I would think as soon as
    it starts to melt the snow would slide off.

    I'll see if I can get some pictures of the snow on the panels so you can see how
    the snow is building up on them.

    They do make a solar panel, with a heating system on them..supposed to uses very little energy..but I've never tried them. There was a guy (locally) that also design a system , in hopes of providing them as a retrofit to all the solar farms we have around us, don't know how he made out...I worked on a couple farms and never seen any.
    Last edited by quinnbrian; 02-13-2016 at 10:36 AM.

  10. #9
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    I just gently brush the snow off with a broom. Made it into town today for the first time in three weeks, on the ATV. Truck is chained up all the way around but there are still some pretty good drifts I don't want to chance getting stuck in. It only snowed a foot or two, but then the wind blew for two days...13 miles of drifts to get to town, that have finally melted down some the last few days. Got some six footers just behind the house...melting it and storing it as fast as I can!

    I worry about scratching my panels with the broom, so I do it very lightly, and give in and fire up the generator rather than make a costly error if the snow melts and freezes on, or it's a real wet snow. That dry, fluffy stuff just falls right off.

  11. #10
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    Always have a back up to your backup to your back up right now I am out at my Bol far away from my home this place I have solar +wind with a generator as back up for electricity for heat I have wood stove and a wood fire place and run propane to a wall heater in the sleeping loft at night for the kids it is a 100 pound or gallon tank what ever it is it is the tall skinny one and I have two lasts about a year and half if I run it every day combined with the rv range cooking every day as well mostly I use the wood stove and fireplace like I did tonight except when the kids wouldn' eat the chili so I baked up a couple tortinos pizzas for them.
    oops

 

 

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